Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries (Whole30, real food)
We adore these real food, Whole30-friendly veggie fries — teenagers included! They’re such a yummy paleo side dish or even Whole30 appetizer. With no deep fryer needed, these Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries are made the old-fashioned, traditional way — fried in pastured lard on the stove!
Need help meal-planning this week? These fries are a great side dish for Instant Pot dinners!
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If I could go back to the time when my now-husband and I were dating (oh, about 18 years ago…) and re-visit one restaurant, it would be the Mr. Burger in Borger, Texas.
My husband’s family are from Borger, and this little town happens to have one of the last remaining Mr. Burger drive-thrus!
Considering the name, it’s ironic that Mr. Burger’s burgers were pretty mediocre. But, we didn’t go to Mr. Burger for the burgers.
We went for the cherry limeades and… curly fries!! 😉
Gah, I love curly fries! For some reason, they always seem to taste better than regular cut fries. I’m not sure why that is!
Alas, these Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries are NOTHING like Mr. Burger’s.
🙂 🙂 🙂
We adore these real food, Whole30-friendly veggie fries — teenagers included! They’re such a yummy paleo side dish or even Whole30 appetizer.
With no deep fryer needed, these Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries are made the old-fashioned, traditional way — fried in pastured lard on the stove!
How do you make fries curly?
I don’t know what Mr. Burger used, but I use my trusty Spiralizer.
Not one for gadgets and gizmos a-plenty, this is one of the few “trendy” gadgets I have in my kitchen.
If you’re looking for a fun and simple way to incorporate more vegetables into your life, may I highly recommend investing in a Spiralizer?
Not only for making curly fries, with a Spiralizer, you can make noodles and curly fries and raw veggie salads out of pretty much any vegetable.
So far, I have spiralized…
- zucchini (Check out these Cajun zoodles!)
- sweet potatato
- butternut squash
If you don’t have a Spiralizer, you can still cut your butternut squash into fries, but they won’t be curly. And that’s kinda sad, don’t you think? Put a Spiralizer on your wishlist and thank me later. 😉
What’s the best frying fat for Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries?
L-A-R-D. Lard. (Or tallow.)
Don’t you be afraid of lard like it’s a four-letter word. 😛
A rendered animal fat, such as lard or tallow, will absolutely, positively, hands-down give you the best results. (Don’t believe the myths you’ve read about animal fat being bad for you; it’s not! Read about the amazing benefits of lard here.)
And you’re going to need about a quart of it.
I can see your eyes bulging out now… Buying a quart of pastured, sustainable, commercial lard or tallow is pretty expensive.
(Find it on Amazon here, but Thrive Market has a WAY better price on tallow, which works just as well as lard!)
That’s why I render my own!
(I have 3 easy methods for rendering animal fats at home: in your Crock Pot, in a cast iron skillet, and in your Instant Pot! It’s easy and fun to render your own animal fats. Try it!)
I’ll let you in on a little secret, too…
Most folks either don’t know that they can render their own fat, or they’re totally grossed out by it, or they think it’s too much work.
In fact, when we buy half of a pastured pig from a local farmer every year, we get 20 to 25 pounds of pig fat FOR FREE because no one wants it!
So, I actually haven’t paid a dime for lard in years! (I only have to spend my time rendering the fat — which is EASY.)
I don’t have or can’t find lard or tallow. What other fats can I use for these Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries?
If lard or tallow are out of the question entirely for you, then my next suggestion for fat to fry your Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries is avocado oil.
Avocado oil is a liquid oil, but it has a much higher smoke point — 490 degrees — than other vegetable oils, like canola, cottonseed, soybean, sunflower, or safflower oils. It also is produced more safely than liquid vegetable oils, so it isn’t rancid. (Source.)
Finally, if lard, tallow, and avocado oil are all out, expeller pressed coconut oil is my last suggestion. Coconut oil is also stable at higher heat. It’s also a much better choice than liquid vegetable oils, isn’t genetically modified, is easily found. I only use sustainably harvested and produced coconut oil from Wildly Organic.
What about Whole30 and fried foods?
Ok, so I actually did a lot of digging on this because I was really unclear.
Whole30 rules state:
For that reason we do not allow commercially-prepared fries or chips, or deep-frying starchy veggies and turning them into fries or chips during your Whole30
There’s a thing in Whole30 known as “SWYPO” — “sex with your pants on”.
These are foods and ingredients — like paleo pancakes or date-sweetened coconut milk ice cream — that are technically Whole30-compliant, but that are seeing just how close you can get to the line without crossing it.
“Sex with your pants on” foods are foods that Whole30 folks are really supposed to avoid because they take away the focus on WHOLE foods: vegetables, meats, fruits, broth, nourishing fats, etc.
Therefore, if fries are your thing, your weakness, the thing you crave when you’ve got PMS or want to reward yourself, then these Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries probably aren’t the recipe for you — if you’re doing a Whole30 right now.
Simply wait until it’s over — hey, it’s only 30 days — and then enjoy these yummy fries to your heart’s content.
If you’re doing a Whole30 and fries aren’t a weakness or “cheat” food for you, then this recipe may not resemble “sex with your pants on” at all and you should happily enjoy them during your Whole30, along with lots and lots of fresh veggies and fruits, pastured meats, broths, and nourishing fats (lard is a nourishing fat!).
These Butternut Squash Curly Fries make a yummy paleo side dish or even Whole30 appetizer!
It’s your call!
You’ll notice in the recipe that I only call for salt — and fresh herbs are optional.
This is because butternut squash is so dang flavorful on its own, so salt is really all that’s absolutely necessary. The light sweetness of the squash pairs perfectly with the salt!
However, I’m a seasoning girl myself. If you want to add additional flavor, spice, smokiness or whatever to your butternut squash curly fries, have at it!
I like a mixture of paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and chipotle powder. It’s smoky and slightly spicy, so it’s perfect with the sweetness of the squash, too!
Garlic salt, lemon pepper, or any other seasoning blend you like will work with these fries.
So, I’m not including a seasoning blend in the recipe because it’s not necessary. You have the freedom to use your favorite spices, or just stick to salt + fresh herbs!
How To Make Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries
You will need this equipment:
- 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven or other large, high-heat, deep pot
- a thermometer (optional, but very helpful)
- slotted metal spoon
- a spiralizer
- knife or vegetable peeler and a cutting board
The neck of the squash is the best part for making curly fries because it is easily spiralized.
Save the bulbous end for roasting or soups. (Here’s my no-fail formula for making any blended soup in your Instant Pot!)
We are making CURLY fries, so the spiralizer is necessary. You’ll get lots of other uses out of a Spiralizer — like making zoodles! — so it’s not a bad gadget to have.
I used the large-opening blade for thicker fries — similar to the size you find at restaurants and in the frozen food section.
Cut the stem off and cut the neck away from the bulbous end of the squash. Use a knife or vegetable peeler to peel the skin off the squash. Then, spiralize the squash.
Heat one quart of lard (or tallow) to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit in your Dutch oven or other large pot, suitable for frying.
While you wait for the fat to heat, you can prepare your salt and seasonings as well as lining a plate or baking sheet with paper towels.
When the oil comes to temperature, it’s time to fry! Working in batches so the squash fries evenly, add the spiralized squash to the hot fat and fry for 7 to 9 minutes or until the squash is golden brown.
You may like to “flip” the fries over during cooking so they brown evenly.
Once lightly browned, use the slotted stainless steel spoon to carefully lift the curly fries out of the hot fat and set them to drain on the paper towels you prepared.
Immediately sprinkle with salt and seasonings or fresh herbs of your choice.
Continue working in batches until you’ve fried all your butternut squash. And enjoy!
Here’s the full recipe for these easy Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries that are Whole30-friendly, too!
Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries (Whole30, real food)
We adore these real food, Whole30-friendly veggie fries -- teenagers included! They're such a yummy paleo side dish or even Whole30 appetizer. With no deep fryer needed, these Paleo Butternut Squash Curly Fries are made the old-fashioned, traditional way -- fried in pastured lard on the stove!
- 1quartlard or tallowor avocado oil or coconut oil
- 2long necks of butternut squashpeeled and spiralized
- 2teaspoons salt
- 1tablespoonchopped herbs, such as rosemary or thymeoptional
Peel and spiralize the necks of butternut squash.
Heat 1 quart of fat in a cast iron Dutch oven on medium-high heat. The fat should reach a temperature of 320 to 350 degrees before frying.
Prepare a baking sheet or large plate by lining it with paper towels. This is where your squash fries will drain excess fat.
Working in batches, fry the butternut squash until browned and crispy, about 7 to 9 minutes, gently turning them over once during frying.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the fries from the fat and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet or plate to drain.
Immediately sprinkle with salt and chopped fresh or dried herbs or other seasonings you like.
Continue working in batches until you've fried all your squash.
Reheat leftovers in a 350-degree oven until crisp -- about 5-7 minutes.
More Paleo Side Dishes You’ll Love…
- Instant Pot Cauli-tatoes (keto, paleo, Whole30)
- Everything Seasoning Roasted Sweet Potatoes (paleo, vegan, Whole30)
- Clean Eating Beet & Blood Orange Slaw (paleo, Whole30, vegan)
- Classic Faux-tato Salad
- Smokey Turmeric Cauliflower Rice
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I have new spiralizer! I would rather bake these fries. You don’t mention that as an option. Have you ever tried baking them? I know it won’t be the same. I just don’t like frying anything. I am not adverse to good fats and have organic avocado oil here.. If you have tried it.. would love to know. Otherwise, I will try it and bake ’em and let u know what happened!!
and.. I like the idea of switching up the seasoning with herbs (of course!lol) Sage or Rosemary or a little Thyme..
I haven’t tried baking them, Carol, but you sure could. I would do it on a higher temp, like 425 degrees so they get crispy and watch the edges for burning. Avocado oil is a great fat for frying, as it is heat stable up to 490 degrees, which is much hotter than frying temp.
Do u see any way of making these in an air fryer? Pushing a button sounds so much easier!
I don’t have and have never used an air fryer, but I’m sure you could figure it out! 😉 I just like my fries the old-fashioned way.
Curly fries are always the best kind of fries, and it’s pretty hard to beat butternut and rosemary together!
These look so good and how easy are they to make. I can so see my kids polish off an entire bowl of these and they dont even like squash 🙂
I have never had butternut squash as fries before. I am so interested in trying this recipe. Looks comforting.
So delicious, I would love to have a plate of these! HAve never done butternut for fries!
So cool! We always have way too many butternut squashes to use up at this time of year, so I’m looking forward to trying it a new way. Maybe my kids will actually help eat some of it for a change!
Well done! These are amazing!!!
I’ve never had butternut squash fries. They look golden crunchy delicious. yummy !
Aww this is so fun! I love spirilizing butternut squash – they girls LOVE the color and taste! I’ll have to get some tallow out and fry them up next time!
What a brilliant idea! I used to eat curly fries all the time from my high school cafetaria and this is totally bringing me back! Except this is so much healthier, and I bet way more delicious.
Whoa these look awesome!!! Curly fries are my very favorite fries and this veggie version is speaking to me!!!! They look like the perfect balance of tender and crispy!!
They look soooo gooooood. I love curly fries and butternut, so I’m sure this is a win!